11 Oct 2021 $3.5 Trillion? $5.5? $1.5? At Any Cost, Biden’s Stealth-Socialism Bill Must Fail
Now is the time, conservatives, to remember – and to remind others of, as relevant – Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.
Ms. Margolies-Mezvinsky (or, perhaps, 3M for ease) was a freshman congresswoman from the collar counties around Philadelphia when in 1992 she won a seat that had been held by blue-stocking Republicans since the eve of the First World War. The left hailed her election as the beginning of a new wave.
In a way, it was right. For it was 3M who cast the deciding vote in favor of Bill Clinton’s then-monster budget, a budget bill that raised taxes substantially while adding all sorts of new entitlement spending. And hence she was directly responsible for the Republicans returning to control of both houses of Congress in 1994 for the first time in nearly 40 years – and remaining competitive in each house to this day.
3M, on the other hand, found herself waved, by that vote, back to her adjunct position at the University of Pennsylvania, and out of the story of the Republic.
Today, with control of the House a matter of flipping four seats, and the Senate a tie broken only by our ineffable vice president, it is reasonable to say that every vote in favor of the reconciliation bill is the deciding vote – a fact that, like a coming hanging, should concentrate some minds wonderfully.
The left has not done a very good job of hiding what the Great Reset and Build Back Better would really mean in practice. Fewer liberties, poorer and more constrained lives, more control by racists, fascists and charlatans posing as their opposites. They have thus far done a fairly good job at hiding the contents of their nominally $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, right down to the cost. They have long cited $3.5 trillion, but that’s only over 10 years, while we know that the social programs are very difficult to repeal once they’ve been enacted. And even then some of the most expensive programs are costed out for shorter periods or only partially expensed. The real cost for the 10-year period approaches $6 trillion.
As seems fairly common these days, the left lost control of things when it pushed its lies too far, finally asserting that the umpityfrad quazillion dollar bill really cost nothing at all – zero dollars – because it was paid for. First of all, it’s not; that fiction relies on claims of imaginary mountains of new money coming in from better IRS enforcement, which is about the equivalent of claiming phantom savings from cutting that hackneyed old trio, “waste, fraud and abuse.” But more importantly, what is wrong with these people? A purchase isn’t free because you paid for it. That’s insane. It cost what had to be paid for it. In this case this monster bill will cost taxpayers trillions, and then will cost future generations trillions because of the lies about its size and how it’s going to be paid for.
Either the people running the White House and the majorities are very, very stupid or they think we are very, very stupid. Or, you know, a little from column A …
Now Joe Manchin has demanded a $1.5 trillion cap on the bill. Which sounds good, but Joe, whose constituency is the reddest in the Union, might think about 3M as he contemplates how meaningless that lower figure really is. As AOC herself has recognized, falsely dialing the official number back from $3.5 trillion is fairly easy. If more programs in the bill are limited to 5 years in this legislation, their costs are cut in half – but the programs have still been established, and will then be nearly impossible to eliminate. It is what the bill authorizes and established that is key, not the headline price tag.
When Joe and Kristin Simena and the modern-day 3Ms in the House vote, they will each be responsible for each of those programs, and their effect on the future of the Republic, not just for a jerry-rigged and financially gerrymandered price tag.
So what is in the bill? Lots of terrible things, including:
- The beginning of universal basic-income payments, now aimed at families with children, but inevitably growing to cover everyone because family-focusing will be deemed discriminatory. (You think it’s hard to fill jobs now? Just wait – and see what this artificial constriction on the job market does to inflation just as your taxes are rising substantially.)
- The extension of benefits to illegal alien. (You think the border crisis is bad now? Wait until getting here quadruples an illegal’s standard of living without working.)
- Funding for AOC’s Climate Conservation Corps. (This cadre of pinch-nosed young Karens and Craigs will swarm out from Washington with Federal Registers full of lunatic regulations, stopping productive work without helping the environment meaningfully.)
- Government tracking of every bank transaction every citizen makes of over $600. (Tie this to the deep-state hard-left politicization of the FBI, and the White House’s admitted collusion with Big Tech to censor conservative expression, and you’ve got all the makings of a solid police state.)
- Raising corporate tax rates to the highest in the developed world, while potentially cutting taxes on the wealthy in high-tax blue states through ending the SALT deduction cap.
- Huge increases in death taxes for even modest estates.
- The so-called Equality Act, the evils of which have often been discussed in these pages.
- Paid family leave billed as helping the poor but which actually provides subsidized extended vacations for the comfortable upper middle class.
- And, as they say, much, much more. All of it bad.
Not absolutely sure that’s a good post-defeat retirement plan, though.
Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project. This was first published at Townhall Finance.